We just got back from taking our first Disney Cruise with baby, and while I had some anxiety about cruising with a baby it was smooth sailing. The whole family had a wonderful vacation, and we all enjoyed having baby girl along for the ride. We quickly learned a few things about cruising with a baby on the go, so here are a few tips to help you prepare for your voyage at sea.
This cruise was part of the Disney Social Media Moms Conference, and it was my family’s fourth Disney cruise and our first Disney Cruise with baby.
Tips For A Disney Cruise With Baby
As veteran cruisers (we really love it!) we’ve learned a few things about what to pack for a Disney cruise and what to expect. But our last cruise was our first cruise with a baby. Somethings we expected from experience, and we learned a few things along the way. If you are debating taking a Disney Cruise with baby, I say yes, and here is how to make the most of it.
What age can you take a baby on a cruise?
P was 13 months old when we ventured out to sea, but Disney Cruise line welcomes babies at least 6 months old. There are some transatlantic cruises that require baby to be at least one year old, but most Disney cruises allow babies as young as 6 months old.
To bring a stroller or not to bring a stroller on a cruise?
Oh, we debated this one. With a family of five we had limited space in the stateroom, and I worried about the stroller being in the way. In the end, we brought it, and it was invaluable for getting on and off the ship. Getting on the ship she rode in style keeping our hands free. Getting off the ship, she wanted to be held so the stroller held all of our bags. Both times, I was glad to have it.
That said, once on board the ship we stowed the stroller under the bed and never pulled it back out. We saw many families with babies using their strollers around the ship, but we found it was easier to just carry her. Glad I brought it, but we really didn’t use it on board.
What baby equipment is provided by Disney?
Like at Disney hotels, Disney automatically had a pack-n-play waiting in the room upon our arrival. I don’t remember requesting, so it must have been based on her age. (They can also be requested.) My favorite part about the pack-n-plays on board Disney Cruise ships is that they are covered in a washable liner. A liner, with mesh sides, covers the entire inside of the pack-n-play. Since my little one always presses her face, and often her tongue into the sides the pack-n-play, this feature makes mom happy. (Dear Disney hotels, please get on board with this concept, the one at our hotel did not have this.)
In addition to the crib, guests can also request the following complimentary baby gear:
- Diaper Genie
- Bottle warmer
- Bottle sterilizer
- Wagon (available at Castaway Cay)
All of the restaurants on board (except those that are 21 and up) also have high chairs available. Like the pack-n-play the high chair was waiting for us at the table the first meal and every meal after.
Side note, I have gotten several inquiries about my daughter’s Minnie Mouse headband, I bought it on Etsy from this seller.
What if I forget something?
Running out of diapers or forgetting something baby needs is always a big worry. But Disney has you covered there too. Baby supplies are available for purchase at the onboard merchandise shops, including diapers, training pants, rash cream, infant formula (ready to feed), bottles, pacifiers, baby food, baby shampoo, baby lotion and baby powder. Disney really does make it easy to take a Disney Cruise with baby.
Note – baby essentials are not available at the shops on Castaway Cay. We forgot P’s pacifier and dad had to go back to the ship to get it for a nap on the beach.
“it’s a small world“ nursery
With two older kids who wanted to see the shows and stay up late and a baby who needs her sleep, the “it’s a small world“ nursery was a lifesaver. For us, we needed P to sleep. So we dropped her off after dinner with her pacifier and blanket and they put her to bed. She slept peacefully while the rest of us played. It was perfect.
But baby doesn’t have to just sleep. Babies and toddlers ages 6 months to three years can play games, make crafts, watch movies and even eat meals while in the nursery. Unlike the Oceaneers club for older (and potty trained) children, there is a $9 an hour fee for children to stay in the “it’s a small world“ nursery. And because space is limited on a first-come basis, reservations are recommended.
Using the ship’s Wave phone and onboard, you can instantly be alerted if baby is upset and needs comforting. It’s really a great system and it makes it easy to take a Disney Cruise with baby.
What will baby eat?
You are welcome to bring baby food and formula onboard as long as it is pre-packaged, unopened and does not require food preparation from the kitchen. Additionally, Disney Cruise Line staff is well-versed in feeding kids. Your server will even cut up your kids’ food for you. And if you need food pureed, just ask.
Because you will have the same server for all of your meals, talk to your server at your first meal about your baby’s needs. They are more than happy to bring foods your baby will eat to every meal.
Is a passport needed for a Disney Cruise with baby?
This is a widely-debated topic. At this time, a birth certificate is all guests need to travel to Caribbean destinations onboard a cruise ship. (International travel always requires a passport.) But, having a passport is an extra layer of protection.
In the event of an emergency where baby or a family member needed to get back to the USA by different means (for example, by plane), baby will need a passport. Call me paranoid, but we got baby a passport for the trip. Plus, now she is ready for international travel — should the opportunity arise.
What are the pool rules?
It is important for families to know that all children must be potty trained to swim in the pool, there are no swim diapers allowed in the pool. However, there is a splash pad area available for little ones onboard all Disney Cruise ships. Shaded and restricted to small children, it is the perfect area for tots to splash.
Of course, kids of all ages are allowed to splash in the water at Castaway Cay. So be sure to pack swim diapers for your day at the beach.
Go with the flow on a Disney Cruise with baby
Any time you are traveling with children, you have to take into account their needs and the same goes for cruising with baby. The day before we left on our trip, P took her first steps. So naturally, she was all about testing out those sea legs every chance she could. That also meant she spent a lot of time with her hands on the floor. While it totally skeeved me out, it was also adorable to see her toddling about.
Her new-found freedom certainly changed the dynamics, but we let her lead the way and she loved it. She had no interested in character meet and greets, but she loved walking the halls. Remember, you can’t do everything in one trip. But if you go with the flow, everyone will enjoy the things you are able to do.
Should we dress up for Pirate Night?
Pirate Night is one of our favorite nights aboard a Disney Cruise. We’ve dressed up for each of our cruises, each with a slightly different look. (More ideas how to dress for pirate night.) But this family pirate night costume was by far my favorite. I loved making matching costumes for the whole family, and it was really easy too. Even the baby got to be part of the pirate night fun with a homemade costume.
We loved our cruise so much, we’ve already booked number five. While I had some reservations about a Disney Cruise with baby, it turned out to be even better than I could have hoped. If any cruise line knows how to cater to babies and young children, it’s a Disney Cruise!
What are you waiting for? Start packing your suitcase and countdown to Disney Cruise!
If you are flying to reach your cruise, you might find this article about traveling with an infant helpful.